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CEPI warns of ‘frightening’ scenario

Europe – The waste guidance issued on June 28 by the European Commission’€™s Environment Department risks ‘€˜seriously downgrading’€™ the quality of recyclates used by paper mills, states the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). The heavy criticism is mainly focused on the Commission’€™s statement that ‘€˜the moment when a material or substance reaches EoW (end-of-waste) is simultaneous with the completion of the recovery and recycling processes’€™.

According to the confederation, the guidance document should not describe compliance with end-of-waste criteria as an equivalent to recovery or recycling. In fact, such a stance poses ‘€˜a serious risk to advancing a recycling society in Europe’€™. Additionally, it is feared that the ‘€˜radical measures’€™ in the non-binding document would effectively break the information flow for public authorities, making it more difficult to police illegal shipments of material.

‘€˜For waste management companies and waste traders, the scenario will be frightening,’€™ says CEPI. ‘€˜With the new interpretation, they would become ‘€œrecyclers’€ without receiving any significant benefit.’€™ They would, however, become ‘€˜legally responsible for the output material’€™ as designated by producers. This would put the weight of liability concerning both quality and possible contamination of waste material on their shoulders.

In the opinion of CEPI, ‘€˜the full implications of that change in interpretation are not clear’€™. Still, it believes demanding so much from waste management companies ‘€˜might just add to the growing list of badly implemented environmental EU measures’€™ and is unlikely to contribute to smart, green and inclusive growth in Europe.

The new guidance document also states: ‘€˜If co-mingled separation can achieve high-quality recycling similar to that achieved with separate collection, then it would be in line with EU waste objectives.’€™ Considering this particular issue is still under legal review in the UK, CEPI finds this to be a somewhat ‘€˜questionable’€™ interpretation. The confederation believes co-mingling also negatively affects the quality of paper recyclates.

To read the guidance document, visit:

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